Friday, January 13, 2012

Scrappy Strippy String Quilt Tutorial

This quilt will fulfill my mission of having every bed in our mountain house covered with one of my quilts.  My ultimate motivation was two-fold.  The first motivator is that I am hosting a quilting retreat for a group of ladies in June.  The second motivator is that we are hosting my son's wedding, also in June.  Do we see a little over-commitment here?  Of course - I wouldn't have it any other way.

String quilts are not new.  They are a great way to use up strips and/or scraps of fabric. String quilts are traditionally sewn to a foundation of fabric or paper.  I like to stitch them to fabric for stability and to avoid bias edges.  When you stitch to paper, paper removal becomes a time consuming and messy step. 

Part of my goal was to use up a bunch of my traditional; fabric as well as have the quilt fir that mountain aesthetic.  To keep with that goal, I cut up lots of my fabric to use as the foundation.  I cut 100 rectangles measuring 7" x 10".

Then I took a bunch of fabric and cut them into strips.  I cut them without a ruler, varying the widths and not caring whether they were straight or not. I place a strip right side up diagonally on the rectangular foundation fabric.  (Those words are from my ironing board cover.)

Then I placed another strip on top of the first, right side down and stitched it down with a 1/4" seam allowance.

After pressing that strip open, you can add strips on both sides of the existing strips.  I do them assembly line style - usually 20 blocks at a time.

After covering the foundation fabric, it is time to trim.

  I didn't find much shrinkage to the size of the block. I recommend using anything but a loosely woven fabric like a homespun to prevent shifting.

 To trim, I first used the rotary cutter to trim one of the long sides.  Then I aligned it with the lines on my cutting mat, to trim the other 3 sides.

  If you want the diamond pattern, make sure that you make half of the blocks with the strips going diagonally to the left and the other half of the blocks with the strips going diagonally to the right.

After prepping all 100 of the blocks, I sewed them together in pairs and then sewed the pairs together to form the diamond.

And this is the finished quilt top.  If your family likes a heavy quilt - this project is for you.  The top alone weighs a ton because of the extra layer from the foundation fabric.  I am thinking about quilting it without batting so I don't add any more weight.  But I think it would look too flat.

And I just couldn't resist sharing this last photo with you.  How could you not love a dog that can sleep with her head resting on the bed of your sewing machine?


  1. Another one done!!!! And I thought you relaxed in KW! Keep the Bailey photos coming!

  2. love the string look, after doing the bonnie hunter one I might try string piecing again, but my larger ones stretched a lot so maybe since they are bigger, fabric underneath would work great!
    love the puppy sleeping like that! now can she sleep like that while you sew? not get her fur stuck or sewn onto a block? no way my dog could do this, Imagine a 135lb bullmastiff on top of my table and a smidge of his face touching the sewing machine and the slobber!! oh no. lol

  3. Wonderful tutorial and great way to use up scraps. I like sewing scraps together and then cutting them into blocks, makes for a fun quilt.


  4. Great scrap quilt - I like the rectangles instead of squares.
    So how much of a dent did it make in your stash?
    Thanks for the tutorial and Bailey looks adorable!

  5. Bailey looks so cute. You need to teach Bailey to sew - you could get twice as much done! I also like the little quilt with her riding on the bike with you.
    Debbi F.

  6. great instructions and pictures. i keep seeing variations of strip quilts and they're on my list of to-do's. someday! Love the puppy!

  7. I really have to make a string quilt next. I love them!

  8. This was very helpful, from one Cheryl to another! I liked the idea of not adding batting as it gave me the idea of making a duvet cover instead of a quilt for the grandkids who seem to like their duvets more. This way I could please them and have fun also!


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